The TRUTH about the Book of Mormon pronouncing guide EXPOSED

January 5, 2009 | 39 comments
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The Mormon Church does not want even its own members to know how to pronounce Shimnilom. Most Mormons do not know the words of their own so-called scripture. If you ask a typical Mormon to say “Shimnilom,” they will not recognize it as a word from their “golden Bible.” Ask them to explain what “Shimnilom” means, and all you get is a blank stare. But if you are debating phonology with one of the Mormon elite or a self-proclaimed “Mormon apologist” and ask him the same question, he will turn to the pronouncing guide at the end of the Book of Mormon—and fall right into your trap. “Shimnilom” does not occur at all in the pronouncing guide! The formerly self-assured apologist will visibly deflate when he finds only the word “Shimnilonwith an N. The novice “Mormon studies” scholar may start to wonder what other falsehoods might be found among his cherished assumptions about the pronouncing guide, but a FARMS bigshot will likely try to explain final nasals in Semitic, early American dialects, and the typesetting process. The truth is much more sinister: the Mormon Church does not want anyone to talk about Shimnilom. No Mormon leader has ever mentioned Shimnilom in their conferences, and the “church” conceals references to Shimnilom in its publications.

That is not the only glaring error in the pronouncing guide of a supposedly “inspired” book! Hidden in the Book of Mormon, the careful reader will find “Ammah,” “Ophir,” and “Jotham,” but the pronouncing guide substitutes labiodentals for the true bilabial nasals. Do you notice something about the distorted forms “Amnah,” “Opher,” and “Jothan” in the pronouncing guide? They are all words from the HOLY BIBLE that have been diabolically misspelled in the pronouncing guide! If you are ever involved in an onomastic debate with a Mormon missionary, just ask him if he has heard of Ammah. “Sure,” he’ll say, “that’s one of the missionary companions of Aaron who preached at Ani-Anti and Middoni.” Then you can say to him “No! Ammah is a hill that lieth before Giah by the way of the wilderness of Gibeon! The Ammah in the Book of Mormon is not the same Ammah of the Bible! Mormons do not believe in the Christian Ammah!” If the incredulous elder does not believe you, just point out the false “Amnah” in the pronouncing guide, and he will not know what to say, or how to say it!

Almost as shocking as the twisting of scriptural names is the complete omission of sacred toponyms. The Mormon Church does not want to acknowledge that their own scripture mentions Cush, Nob, or Palestina. The Bible teaches that Doeg the Edomite saw the Son of Jesse coming to Nob, but the Mormon pronouncing guide won’t help you say it correctly. For Bible Christians, Palestina is the Holy Land. No wonder the Book of Mormon pronouncing guide doesn’t include it. When will the Mormon Church finally stop hiding the truth about its pronouncing guide? How many more combinations of vowels and consonants are missing from it? There could literally be hundreds!

But the most fiendish pronunciation aid of all is without question “Mahonri,” a word that does not occur in the Book of Mormon or anywhere else in the Mormon scriptures. What does Revelation say about adding or taking away from the words of the Bible? But the Mormons have added and taken away words from the very pronouncing guide itself! The Mormon Church can no longer hide the fact that “Mahonri” is in the pronouncing guide but not in the Book of Mormon. Even their own web site will tell you: “There were no occurrences of the word MAHONRI found in the Text of the Scriptures.” What word does it suggest instead? MASONRY. Enough said.

The researcher Mary Jane Woodger looked into the controversial history of the pronouncing guide, a history that most Mormons don’t know about because their “church” is hiding it from them. But Mary Jane Woodger documented a startling and shameless cover-up, including changes to the text of the Book of Mormon pronouncing guide as recently as 1981! Woodger’s conclusion? “Uniformity.” From early 20th century, when the authority of the Mormon hierarchy was crumbling in the face of the collapse of polygamy, until the church’s imminent collapse today due to worldwide expansion, the pronouncing guide has enforced rigid conformity in pronunciation on generations of Mormons too deluded or too frightened to sound it out for themselves. When faced with an unfamiliar word, Mormons unthinkingly look to a familiar and trusted authority that is in fact faulty, incomplete, and, most tragically of all, does not use the IPA for its phonetic transcriptions. But the TRUTH about the Book of Mormon pronouncing guide will not stay hidden.

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39 Responses to The TRUTH about the Book of Mormon pronouncing guide EXPOSED

  1. Adam Greenwood on January 5, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    I wrap my pronouncing guide in tinfoil and haven’t had any of these problems.

    Regards.

  2. Rob Perkins on January 5, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    That was beautiful. I now doubt everything. Of course I doubted everything before I read it (see TG “Faith”) but there you are!

  3. Kent (MC) on January 5, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Awesome! Definitely worthy of a FAIRlds pingback.

  4. Julie M. Smith on January 5, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Awesome.

  5. jv on January 5, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    This is so ridiculous. Don’t you have anything better to do?

  6. Kent Larsen on January 5, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Jonathan, does it hurt when you shove your tongue so far into your cheek?

  7. E on January 5, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Thank you for bringing the shocking truth to light. Lets print it in pamphlet form and distribute it around the country for use in “Christian Education” programs.

  8. queuno on January 5, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Can we give a Niblet to anyone who uses these words in a talk? Has to produce a recording…

  9. William James on January 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    I don’t know how much time you put into that post, but every minute was well worth it. That “conceal” link alone made my evening.

  10. Jacob J on January 5, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    but the pronouncing guide substitutes labiodentals for the true bilabial nasals

    That sent a shiver up my spine.

  11. Kevin Barney on January 5, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    The m/n variation in Shimnilom/Shimnolon is clearly a reflection of the movement from the Hebrew masculine plural ending in -m to the Aramaic masculine plural ending in -n.

  12. Ben H on January 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Spectacular : )

  13. Derek on January 5, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    And “thou” is correctly pronounced “thoo” with a voiceless dental fricative. How far we have strayed.

  14. Jonathan Green on January 6, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Adam, for best results, I recommend microwaving the pronouncing guide for 1 minute on high before wrapping in tin foil. It’s important to remove both the CIA-engineered microbes and the mind-control rays.

    Kent, no, due to an unfortunate orthodontics incident, this is the natural shape of my lower jaw.

  15. Marc on January 6, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Choice. Good to have you back Jonathan.

  16. Jonathan Green on January 6, 2009 at 12:15 am

    William Morris, thank you for clicking on the link. I’m glad you liked that one. I was rather proud of it.

    As far as the time investment, it was really quite modest. I was wondering a while back if the pronouncing guide caught all the proper names in the Book of Mormon, or if maybe some had been left out. So I wrote a few perl scripts to search for all capitalized nouns not preceded by periods in the gutenberg.org plain-text version. The method doesn’t catch the Nephite weights and measures or commodities (ziff, neas, and sheum) or the Jaredite domesticated animals, but it was close enough. With enough fiddling and manual post-processing, it didn’t take too long to come up with a list that could be checked against the pronouncing guide. Writing perl scripts is its own reward in any case.

    The results were as you see above–all the examples I cited in the post are 100% accurate. Not actually all that much to get excited about. But then the muse descended.

  17. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 12:18 am

    This muse, would she accept a guestblogger invite?

  18. Mark B. on January 6, 2009 at 12:26 am

    I don’t care about any of that crap, but if we could get people to stop pronouncing “saith” as if they were a bunch of knuckle-dragging hillbillies saying “sayeth” I could go to bed free from angst. But, alas . . .

  19. Ray on January 6, 2009 at 12:29 am

    Brilliant, Jonathan – especially since I personally have heard some of the ridiculous arguments you highlight.

    The “conceal” link really is clever, as is the “Mahonri” link.

  20. Michelle Glauser on January 6, 2009 at 10:04 am

    You are obviously a prescriptive linguist. I always looked at the pronunciation guide as a suggestion. There are some on that list that I would change myself–not because they would be any more “correct,” but because they would slide off my tongue easier. Of course it’s not meant for everyone in the world to pronounce the names that way. Even as close as Mexico, the names have already changed so the Saints there can say them. Not one of your so-called “uncoverings” gives me any reason to doubt my faith. Why does it matter how those things are said? If a tiny child who had fallen and gotten hurt mispronounced your name, would you refuse to help him or her? It is the meaning that is important. When someone here (in Germany) tells me that they’re going to “wisit Ahmereeka,” I still know what they’re talking about. “Nay-fee” is still the man who did what the Lord commanded and built that ship!

    The things that have been pointed out get us caught up in the little things that don’t matter. What does matter is that the scriptures are there as tools for us in living the gospel.

  21. bfwebster on January 6, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Brilliant post, Jonathan. Of course, the phrase “more time than friends” kept drifting through my mind (and, no, the fact that you wrote perl scripts didn’t banish that thought; quite the contrary), but still — a brilliant post. :-) ..bruce..

  22. Russell Arben Fox on January 6, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Jonathan, I say with all seriousness that this is your BEST. POST. EVER. You might as well quit know; you’re never going to get better than this. Awesome, hilarious, and even a little thoughtful. A little.

  23. Matt W. on January 6, 2009 at 11:15 am

    “the church’s imminent collapse today due to worldwide expansion”

    Perhaps the greatest phrase ever coined.

  24. Frank McIntyre on January 6, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to know more. Do you have a newsletter?

  25. Ron Litton on January 6, 2009 at 11:36 am

    My first foray into the Times and Seasons blog … probably won’t come back. Sorry.

  26. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Ron L., consider the possibility that this post is a joke.

  27. Mark Brown on January 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Jonathan,

    This needs to be expanded into book form. For a title, I suggest The Pronouncing Guide: Shadow or Reality?

  28. Mark Brown on January 6, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    You could sell your book on the street outside general conference.

  29. bbell on January 6, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Instant classic. It takes total brilliance to uncover this deep dark LDS secret.

  30. Jonathan Green on January 6, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    It’s possible that Ron Litton might already be the editor of a newsletter that exposes Mormon conspiracies on a semi-regular basis, and that he understood the post perfectly but feels offended by a perceived lack of respect for investigative newsletters such as his.

    Michelle, liebe Grüße nach Deutschland. Vergleichst du den obigen Text mit den anderen Beiträgen von mir und von meinen Kollegen, wirst du wohl finden, dass die parodistische Absicht in diesem Fall offensichtlich ist. Allerdings kommt es immer wieder vor, dass meine alljährlichen Versuche in dieser Gattung missverstanden werden. Bitte entschuldige, wenn das dir vielleicht diesmal passiert ist.

  31. Rameumptom on January 6, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Imagine that all this time I was focusing in on the text of the Book of Mormon, and neglecting the clearly anti-Christian spiel in the pronunciation guide!

    Wow, and all this time I thought I was a Christian! Now I’ll have to go and apologize to all those anti-Mormons I’ve dickered with over the years and tell them they were right after all.

  32. kevinf on January 6, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I haven’t read the pronunciation guide. I was waiting for the movie version from those fine artists at Halestorm.

  33. enquirer on January 9, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Is this a joke? I was hoping this would be an intelligent blog site but it appears to be a playground for the semi-insane with time on their hands.

  34. Adam Greenwood on January 10, 2009 at 2:04 am

    Why not both, sir?

  35. jra on January 13, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    What a waste of cyberspace! Someone needs to get an education, and get a real job! Oh wait, that’s not me, because I have both! Well, I wasted 10 minutes of my life on this idiotic site that I will never get back…I will use my life on this earth more wisely, and not come back.

  36. Adam Greenwood on January 14, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Yet another heartwarming story of self-reflection and vows for future improvement, brought to you by Times and Seasons, Hub of the Bloggernacle.

  37. Michele on January 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I am new to this site and was wondering about some comments that were made about Mormon Doctrine. Is there something wrong with the book? I thought it was a good source of information?

  38. Kari on January 14, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I didn’t think the church cared how we pronounced anything. That’s why they dropped the “The Ensign (preferred pronunciation: N’sign, not N’sun)” from the magazine.

  39. Alison Moore Smith on January 14, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Jonathan, I’m surprised at your scanty research. The entire pronunciation guide is set for removal 3rd quarter of ’09. It will be replaced with the Inspired Version, aka the back few pages of Orson Scott Card’s Homecoming series.

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